The children of Thomas Francis Brown created this site to have a place to capture and store memories of their father.  Tom worked with many amazing people on some really neat projects and we would love to hear more about them.  Please see Tom’s obituary below and share comments/stories at the very bottom of the page.  You may also check out posts by Tom’s children (and hopefully from some other people in the future) here.

Thomas Brown

 

With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Thomas Francis Brown, a loving father, a talented recording studio engineer, and a brilliant software programmer. Thomas, born on September 21, 1948, in Cleveland, Ohio. He left this world, after a long courageous battle with cancer, on September 9, 2023, in Asheville, North Carolina. He was 74 years old. Thomas was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Francis Brown and Susan Jarnett.

Thomas led a remarkable life filled with passion and dedication. As a recording studio engineer, he had a natural gift for capturing the essence of music and translating it into timeless recordings. His work in the music industry touched the hearts of many, leaving a lasting legacy of sound and artistry.

In addition to his impressive career, he was also a skilled software programmer. His ability to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology was nothing short of remarkable. His contributions to the field have left an indelible mark, and his work continues to inspire and shape the industry.

The rest of the obituary is available 

Thomas leaves behind a legacy that his family will forever cherish and be inspired by. He is survived by his two devoted children, Christine (Ryan) Lucas of Black Mountain, North Carolina, and Kenneth (Jeanette) Brown of Columbus, North Carolina. Their lives have been enriched by the love and guidance of their father, and they will always carry his memory in their hearts.

He also leave behind two grand daughters, Brooklyn (Thomas) Woodbury of Gastonia, North Carolina, and Hannah Stanley of Fairview, North Carolina, as well as his two grandsons, Rowyn Brown and Eli Brown, both of Columbus, North Carolina. His legacy extends even further with two great-grandsons, Brantley Woodbury and Hudson Woodbury, of Gastonia, North Carolina.

A celebration of Thomas’s life will be held at his daughter’s house on September 23rd at 2:00pm. Thomas’s passing leaves a void that can never be filled, but we will find solace in the memories we shared with him. In honoring his memory, let us remember the laughter, the music, and the moments of love that defined his life.

In this time of mourning, let us remember Thomas Francis Brown not for the tears we shed today but for the smiles and joy he brought into our lives.

As we come together to bid farewell to a remarkable man, let us find comfort in the knowledge that his spirit lives on in the hearts of those who loved him. Thomas’s memory will be a guiding light for all of us, reminding us of the beauty of a life well-lived and the enduring power of love.

May he rest in eternal peace.

Online Condolences may be made at www.penlandfamilyfuneralhome.com

We appreciate Penland Family Funeral Home for assisting our family in this time of need.

We would greatly appreciate if people can share any stories of their experiences with Tom, and if you have pictures or videos of Tom (or even just something he worked on), it would mean the world to us if we see them as well.
If you have just a quick comment or one or two pictures, please leave a reply at the bottom of this page, but if you have a big story to share, please privately contact us so we can give you access to create an entire post on this page for him, or to get the information so we can create the post.
Please share using the links below if you know anybody that may have additional stories or experiences that they would be willing to share.
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22 Responses

  1. I was sad to read your message about Tom. I knew he had cancer, but I hadn’t talked with him by phone for two or three years. Great guy.

    Tom did the sound at our monthly Tacoma contra dance for six years, 2007 – 2013, when he “retired” I recall because of a bum leg. He loved to test the speakers and other sound equipment before each dance. This involved making a dreadful, ear-splitting sound, and seeing how the sound equipment reacted. One speaker blew up, I remember, and we laughed. Tom replaced it with one of his own speakers.

    We had a wonderful dance hall, a 1920 Craftsman building with a high ceiling. Tom was responsible for setting up the sound equipment and making sure the three to seven musicians were properly mixed and balanced. He was very good at it, and got on well with the musicians and the dancers. He drove back and forth between Quilcene and Tom for each dance. I have many fond memories of Tom. I will rummage through our old dance photos, and send to you anything of interest about Tom.

    Matt Temmel

    Tacoma, WA

  2. Christine,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your fathers passing. I was going to call him last week but got busy. I barely knew him but I felt like I knew him my whole life.
    I loved hearing the stories of the music and audio industry from him a true legend. I will cherish the equipment he gave me and think of him every time use it.
    It was nice to finally meet you, I’m glad you were able to take him home with you and spend the last few moments with him.
    I will miss him.

    Peter

  3. Tom and I were working on a recording facility together in Port Townsend after he was having his first bouts with chemo. He was in the studio every day and it was as though it was bringing life back into him. He lived for music production, it was the one constant in his blood. After the pandemic closed our doors, it really took the gas out of him. The world lost a genius in our industry. I and many, will miss him dearly. With belief in miracles, I was hoping they would find him.

    Sorry for your loss

    Barry Ellis

  4. Hello Christine and Kenny

    I am so saddened about the passing of your father.. Tom was the kindest friend I have ever had..
    He always brought the best out of me… Never ever a bad thought or anything close to a bad vibe he had in his soul… I remember every time I got on the ferry to come over his way it was always a beautiful journey driving there and then when I arrived to see his smiling face… He always had a joke to tell me that set the day.. His time he spent with me drawing plans for a control room was his love.. So much appreciated..
    The funny thing that I experienced he had in the backyard a area where he threw away some audio gear frames and items that were no good to him anymore.. He would take me back there and had certain names for the items.. I always said to him your are as crazy as me dude!!
    Never will forget that but most of all again he was the kindest person ever I met in my life —
    We will deeply miss him —

    Thank you Christine and Kenny

    Much Love

    Robert

  5. Christine & Kenny –

    It was very nice to read your memorials here (and the above comments too). I have many good memories of the time spent with Tom over the past 12 years and look forward to sharing them here as time allows. For now I thought I’d share two things. I recall that he got a pretty good laugh over this cartoon. (If only one upload happens, I’ll just save that for later, along with others in the future.) For the video, Tom sent this one to me. As many would guess, he was a great aficionado of engine sounds…often talked about recording them on US101 right from the yard.

    Best regards, Scott.

  6. Christine – For some reason, I keep thinking of funny stories (and will get to others too), such as this quip:

    “I think Taylor Swift is very attractive, for a twelve year old boy.”

  7. OK, here’s a more “serious” (work-related) story. Hopefully this will inspire some others – those more qualified than me – to speak to Tom’s technical proficiency.

    I first met Tom when a neighbor’s band played at a BBQ in my back yard…you could say that it was a very low-key “gig”, LOL. I was intrigued to witness (for the first time) Tom’s process of “ringing out” the PA. I really didn’t know what that meant at the time, but came to understand it as sort of like a “stress test” for the system, mostly for feed back issues. During this process, I noticed that he was very focused, very engaged, very “serious”. When he, inevitably, got what he wanted, he visibly relaxed and started having fun, typically playing some favorite reference tracks (Mr. Blue Sky, anyone?) and pushing the volume to the limit.

    At that point, of course, I didn’t know anything about Tom’s hearing loss or how important his ears were to his process. Years later, he would joke that all he could hear were “the problems”. Maybe that was true, but he also knew what he liked when he heard it. For me, I think the real beginning of our relationship happened the moment I pulled out a very nice acoustic guitar (a Martin HD-28V) and played the first note. His head swiveled immediately, instantly, to identify where that sound was coming from. His radar was “on”, always and everywhere.

    But, here’s the point of this story: Why did he enjoy our subsequent association? Yeah, I could lift heavy stuff for him and didn’t (usually) break stuff. That’s all fine and well, but it wasn’t thing he valued most. I believe that, eventually, he came to trust my ears. That, after all, was the #1 thing he valued. Perhaps, as his hearing loss worsened, he became more reliant on outside references, but I don’t think that was the deal. He simply cared so much about the pursuit of “perfection”, that he’d always want and need to test what he was hearing with what others (or some others, at least) were hearing too. Yet another reference track.

    So, as much as he knew (and knew he knew), as much as he’d accomplished, he never assumed he was right. He always wanted some kind of verification, as best as it might be accomplished. He knew, for instance, that “perfection” wasn’t possible. It just had to be as good as it could be under the circumstances. And, whenever it all did come together (as rare as that would prove to be), he’d just light up like a Christmas tree. That was the true source of his joy.

  8. Here’s another “serious” one…some poignant evidence of those times when everything “went right”.

    Attached is a song file from his recording of a Greg Brown concert in Chimacum WA back in 2014 (with accompaniment by Nina Gerber).

    So far, I haven’t found any of the files from the Leo Kottke concert at the same venue, alas. Another good one. I do recall Leo telling Tom “I like your pink”, in reference to the pink noise he’d utilize while EQ’ing the PA system for the room.

  9. It was always a pleasure to work with Tom when he did sound for gigs. Generous with his innovation and skill. Kind soul.
    Condolences to the family.

  10. So, some might know that Tom engaged in several attempts to perfect his ideas for both live sound and live recording. On may occasions, he’d argued (much like Neil Young, btw) that “live music is better”. His proviso would be that: so long as you get conditions right for it’s recording.

    I was fortunate enough to participate in a couple of these projects, beginning with “Woodsound 101”, housed in the old Quilcene Theater at 11 Church Rd. The owner of the building at the time – a custom wood cutter – was using it as a wood-drying shed and, I suppose, part-time show-room for his better slabs. Tom’s involvement began modestly by providing live sound reinforcement for Locust Street Taxi, a local band that initiated the “Quilcene Shindig” summer concerts that occurred over several years.

    Tom recorded several projects inside the old theater and I learned quite a lot about both live sound and helping to set up, record, and mix both the live sessions and the recordings. In the picture below, Tom’s efforts were featured in the Peninsula Daily News. I later learned that his “thumbs up” wasn’t always a positive endorsement of the performance. (That’s me playing in the background, LOL.)

  11. I met Tom for the first time before I could talk, he was a long time family friend. Fast forward twenty or so years and I begin working with Tom, becoming fast friends. I was always blown away with Toms work ethic, knowledge and passion for what he did. For several years we worked together, traveling around Washington setting up PA’s for concerts. We recorded hundreds of concerts together, installed sound systems, and acoustically treated venues.

    I was honored and lucky to be able to work with Tom over the last years of his life. He was a true Master of his craft and a great mentor. We spent hundreds of hours together and, I learned so much from Tom that I really don’t know where to start.

    I saw less of Tom over the last two years of his life, but he was always a phone call away, whenever I had a question like, “why is my toaster playing fm radio?” These kinds of questions would usually turn into an hour long phone call that involved a story, advice, and a few jokes.

    Over the past month I can’t count how many times I’ve wanted to call Tom.
    He was one of the best men I have ever met, and our friendship will be with me forever.

  12. Hey Christine – I’ve been thinking of reaching out to you since I hadn’t seen you post anything lately. Austin sent me copies of those recordings and, maybe, I’ll pick something out to put up here. He played another Molly Tuttle song that I’m thinking about in particular. The last time we got together we also talked about (yet) another of Tom’s wishes…live concerts in grocery parking lots from the back of a truck or flatbed, LOL. His “mobile rig” (that massive converter in the truck?) was a core part of that.

    But, anyway, boy howdy, I can’t tell you how often I think of questions that I’d love to ask Tom. Just today in fact, I was toying with the idea of figuring out if I can design a crossover in my DAW to run those Rob boxes…yeah, still trying to figure out what to do about them. Unless I throw up my hands and just put ’em on CL, I’d sure love to hear them first and, for sure, demo them for potential buyers. We’ll see how that goes.

    I’ll get something more up before too long. Merry Christmas to you all.

    1. I check on the page often but yeah haven’t posted lately. There’s so many things I wish I could ask my Dad still. Still kinda surreal he’s not just hanging out in his room or on the porch taking pictures of the birds and squirrels. Maybe we should start a new thread on here with questions and maybe someday someone will answer them 😀

  13. Now I’m thinking this site should have been called: “Things I’d like to ask Tom if only I could.” Passed that last one on to Austin and I think we’ll give it a go in the near future…still assembling the parts and pieces needed.

    Also, I spoke with Franco about putting something up here and he said he’s got some recordings (of Locust Street Taxi, I assume) to share. Also showed him that I’m working on another special (Tom-related) project. You’ll recall that I bought his old Mackie 1402VLZ mixer…the one he bought initially to do that first gig with Franco’s band, way back when? Sort of a sentimental purchase for me…I’d used it to run a series of “open mic nights” at a local restaurant for a while (where I first met Austin, in fact). Anyway, I thought about buying a pre-made case for it, but have instead built a nice DIY wood case for it, which I’m still trimming it out, but will post a pic when done.

    Hope to reach out to a couple of others that might yet contribute. Dan Dean maybe?? Anyway, here’s the Molly Tuttle song that I thought should be up here.

    saw

  14. Tom sometimes blamed me for his getting back into sound engineering here in Quilcene around 2007; after he’d been doing computer programming for many years. I’m not sure I can truly take the credit (or blame) for that, but when I somehow found out that a veteran Nashville sound engineer lived in Quilcene, I looked him up, he invited me over and I somehow convinced him to come and do sound for my band, Locust Street Taxi, for a little street concert we put on in downtown Quil at Marc Waltz’s place. This was “The Quilcene Shindig.” We did it ten times. I’ll try to find a recording and put it up here.

    At that time, Tom could fit all of his gear into a Ford Taurus…hard to believe. It was a wonderful little gig and for any band that has played many live shows- it’s easy to tell the good engineers from the bad. It was immediately apparent that Tom was one of a kind. It was very exciting for an original, goofy, semi-pro traveling band of former college music and theater students to have a genuine, real sound engineer who had worked with the best actually doing sound for us. Maybe it sounds funny to some, but, Tom actually made us a bit starry eyed – at first.

    A live show was always more fun, and better sounding, if Tom was there. After dozens of gigs together, many hours on the road and way too much coffee in his home studio he was like one of the band. Intimidating a bit too – I wanted so badly to please him because I knew if Tom liked what we were doing it must sound pretty good. We also learned to recognize his truly pleased grin and his grin of, “I love what you’re trying to do…”

    Try as I might, my guitar playing never graduated past Channel 13 on his board…and Channel 1 was reserved for Sam’s kick drum. He had his priorities straight.

    More tidbits – I often had to repeat myself to get Tom to hear me when speaking – but he could instantly spot the tiniest clam in a mix that was inaudible to everyone else until the fifth listen.

    – We discussed God and the bible often. We shared much and had many of the same critiques of modern society but Tom was more cynical because he watched TV and I didn’t.

    – Eventually I did feel some real guilt about how much time sound engineering kept Tom cooped up indoors in front of a computer surrounded by gear. He did love it, so perhaps I shouldn’t feel that way – but based on his stories, I knew that he loved other things too – like growing a garden. I wished he would do a little more of that for a healthy balance. I used to stop by and drop extra produce from our farm on Tom’s doorstep when he was sick. He seemed to appreciate home grown food. I was so happy and relieved when I heard that Christine had come to help him sort his gear, with Scott’s and others’ help, and take him back home.

    I sure miss him and pray for him and all his family. I’ll try to post a live recording from Quilcene sometime soon.

    Sincerely,

    Franco Bertucci

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